OECS and CARICOM member states to prepare for WTO meeting

CASTRIES, St Lucia — Senior trade officials from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states will meet in Saint Lucia on September 10-11 to prepare for ninth meeting of WTO trade ministers in Bali, Indonesia, scheduled for December 3-6, 2013.

The members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been engaged in negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda since it was launched in November 2001. The last twelve years of negotiations have yielded limited success and the DDA has been on the brink of failure on more than one occasion. However, the region has registered major achievements in the recognition of special and differential treatment for small vulnerable economies across negotiating issues including, inter alia, agriculture, non-agricultural market access, services and subsidies.

CARICOM officials will decide on the strategy that ministers will be advised to pursue in the negotiations in Bali. The meeting will focus its attention on a cluster of issues including the draft trade agreement on trade facilitation, agriculture and development issues, as well as the future work programme of the WTO after the December meeting.

The region’s interests lie in advancing the development focused work of the WTO and ensuring that the potential benefits of trade liberalization are accessed by regional firms.

Also at stake is the future of the multilateral trading system, which includes a binding dispute settlement mechanism that provides small developing countries with a forum for challenging the policies of larger developed countries.

Funding for this activity has been provided by the ACP-MTS Programme, and EU funded project designed to support ACP participation in the multilateral trading system.

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